Young innovators: Matthew de la Hey and Alex Hanson-Smith of inploi

For London-based entrepreneurs, Matthew de la Hey and Alex Hanson-Smith, there have been a couple of turning points that proved they were on the right track. The first came a few months after they came up with the idea for inploi, a platform connecting employers and staffers in the hospitality industry. “Both of us are incredibly determined,” says Hanson-Smith, who is 25. “We were going to do this regardless, so we decided to go all in.” They quit their jobs to work on it full-time and secured two rounds of funding last year. That convinced the partners to push ahead, and after extensive beta testing, the website went live earlier this year.

The response, they said, has been phenomenal. “We’ve been getting great feedback from people on both sides of the marketplace,” says de la Hey, who is 26. “People have been telling us ‘I just managed to find a job in a restaurant’ or ‘I found someone who’ll be a great manager for my café.’ It’s validation that what we’re doing is helping people in real life.” They plan to expand inploi’s reach beyond London and widen its scope to include other service industry jobs. “There’s a huge workforce out there which would benefit from a better way to find a job than inefficient employment agencies,” says Hanson-Smith. “Or looking for notices in shop windows.”

Inploi 2

When we started our company, we were just acquaintances who had met several times. We weren’t childhood friends, but that played to our advantage. We can be absolutely honest with each other.

Alex Hanson-Smith

Recently inploi’s five-member team moved into London’s WeWork Paddington. “We moved here from what we called the dungeon, a place with absolutely no natural light,” says Hanson-Smith. “But moving into WeWork was really good for us as a business,” says Hanson-Smith. “Suddenly our productivity skyrocketed.”

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